In a statement applauding the contributions of co-ops to the U.S. economy and urging all Americans to learn more about the benefits of cooperative development, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack declared October 2015 National Cooperative Month.
A message from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service, introducing the proclamation, cited the critical role co-ops play in rural communities with limited capacity for economic growth.
“Sharing resources and forming a cooperative can greatly magnify the power of individual action—co-ops are often the best option to meet a common need,” the message said.
Secretary Vilsack’s full statement follows:
WHEREAS producer- and user-owned cooperatives are essential to the U.S. economy and to rural America, delivering supplies to farmers and ranchers and helping them market their products, supplying telecommunications and energy to rural communities and providing financial and other important services; and
WHEREAS cooperatives unite their member-owners, thus improving their bargaining power, increasing their marketing clout and reducing costs based on volume purchasing of production supplies while adding value through pooled product marketing; and
WHEREAS cooperatives fill market voids by providing high-quality services and products that otherwise my be unavailable; and
WHEREAS member-owners manage their cooperatives through democratic governance processes, serving as a voice for their members on legislative issues and enhancing the viability of their communities by generating jobs and paying taxes;
NOW, THEREFORE, in recognition of the vital role that cooperatives play in improving economic opportunity and the quality of life in rural America, I, Thomas J. Vilsack, Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture, do hereby proclaim October 2015 as National Cooperative Month. I encourage all Americans to learn more about cooperatives and to celebrate cooperatives’ accomplishments with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
Click here to view USDA events observing National Cooperative Month.